Abingdon remembers today the 125 members of the School community, OAs and members of staff, who died in the service of their country during two world wars 1914-1918, 1939-1945.
Men like the professional soldier Major Philip Morley (OA 1917) of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment killed on 21 May 1940 in the Fall of France. According to the Abingdonian: ‘He was killed in a gallant effort to silence a machine-gun, which was inflicting murderous punishment upon his company. Though already wounded in the neck, he managed to crawl within striking distance of the gun, but as he raised his arm to hurI a grenade, he received a shattering wound in the shoulder, and the next moment the grenade exploded, killing him instantaneously.’
Engine Room Artificer Edmund Hunt (OA 1930) a farmer in civilian life, served on the submarine P-311, which failed to return from an attack on Italian warships in the harbour at La Maddalena, Sardinia. The crew of 67 were listed as missing, presumed dead, their fate unknown. That was until 2016 when an Italian diver discovered the wreck of a British submarine identified as P-311 off the east coast of Sardinia, its prow badly damaged and its hatch still firmly sealed the crew would have suffocated.
Squadron Leader Richard Langebear (OA 1931) served with 18 Squadron RAF Bomber Command. On 9 May 1941 he took off from RAF Portreath in Cornwall on a daylight anti-shipping patrol. His plane failed to return. A witness reported that following an attack on a 1000-ton vessel his plane was seen at 200 ft with its engine on fire. A subsequent investigation revealed that his plane had been hit by gunfire from a British warship.